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Baseball to take on Columbia for critical four-game series

ITHACA, N.Y. — This is it. After a nice start to their Ivy season against Harvard, the Big Red baseball team promptly lost four straight games to Brown and Yale this past weekend, forcing their hand as they now have a critical six-game conference home stand. We’ve seen this story before. Last year, they went into the Columbia series 6-6 in Ivy play, and they lost four straight to effectively end their season. And in 2014, it was the same thing: 6-6 going into the Columbia series, and they dropped four in a row.

They are now 2-4 in Ivy League play, and I can confidently say that they need to win all six of these games. All. Six. With Princeton 6-2 and Penn 5-3 and playing each other, a split between them would be ideal. If that happens, both teams would be 6-4 and 7-5, putting Cornell in striking range if they find themselves winning at least five of their next six games. If they split the six games and find themselves at 5-7, they would need to win nearly every game against Penn and Princeton to leap-frog over them. If they do any worse than 3-3, they are effectively eliminated from Lou Gehrig division contention. But to truly ensure they have a chance, even if Penn or Princeton win all four this weekend, they need to win all six.

For their series against Columbia this weekend, here are the probable pitchers and starting times, according to cornellbigred.com:


You also have to imagine Michael Byrne will get ample time out of the bullpen as well, and Coach Pepicelli will have to monitor the pitch counts of Paul Balestrieri and Tim Willittes, as both of them will likely get the ball for the Wednesday doubleheader against Dartmouth. I would even go as far to say that they will need one blow out to preserve the meat of their ‘pen, because six straight games of tight play, like these past couple of weekends, would be absolutely brutal on their pitching depth.

This means that the offense needs to be running on all cylinders: Cole Rutherford needs to tap into his immense power, Tommy Wagner needs to continue with his hot bat, and CJ Price needs to build off of the work he’s done earlier on. Everyone needs to contribute.

We’ll be on the air starting at 12 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, and you can find us at @CornellBRSN on Twitter and live on the Ivy League Digital Network.

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